Largest Installation of Little Free Libraries in Escondido

May 3, 2018

By Ana Gomez Salcido

The Escondido Union School District will have the largest installation of Little Free Libraries at any school district in California.

Little Free Libraries are outdoor boxes where people leave books for others to borrow or exchange for free. The Little Free Libraries will be located at each of EUSD’s seventeen elementary schools and one intermediate school.

The first in the series of Little Free Libraries was presented at Conway Elementary School, on Tuesday, May 1, in front of school officials, teachers, and students. The Little Free Libraries were possible after woodworking students from the Escondido Union High School District made a total of 18 boxes. EUHSD woodworking students are well known for building toy boxes and child-sized tables, chairs, and bookshelves to support local kindergarten families and cancer research charities.

“Our woodworking students take a lot of pride in putting their skills to use to help others,” said Nathan Boelhauf, Woodworking Teacher at EUHSD. “These boxes will make it possible for younger students at EUSD schools and their families to enjoy reading as a community.”

EUSD Superintendent Luis Rankins-Ibarra thanked the high school students and also thanked Conway Elementary Librarian, Tanya Turek for her leadership. Turek asked Boelhauf for help to build one box, but the woodworking students were able to build the 18 boxes.

“Together, they are doing more than just building wooden boxes that house books and encourage reading,” Rankins-Ibarra said. “They are literally building our sense of community in Escondido’s schools.”
The woodworking students also had the idea to put wheels on each of the boxes, so they can be moved if necessary.
“We thank our woodworking students once again for their generosity, expertise and commitment to giving back,” said Steve Boyle, EUHSD Superintendent.

Also, Turek applied for and received a $4,500 grant from the Current Wisdom Foundation to purchase books for adults, in Spanish and English, to seed the new EUSD Little Free Libraries.

“Children need to see their parents reading. You can’t tell if an adult is reading a book through a phone or tablet, they can be on Facebook or doing something else. I wanted the students to see their parents with a physical book on their hands,” Turek said to La Prensa San Diego. “Parents can now start a book club.”

A $300 grant from the Escondido Education Foundation made it possible for EUSD to register with the Little Free Libraries non-profit organization network.

“Connecting with our community is a core principal at Conway,” Turek said. “It is amazing the way the students of EUHSD, the Current Wisdom Foundation, the Escondido Education Foundation and the principals, librarians and family liaisons at all 18 of our elementary and intermediate schools came together to make this happen.”

The Little Free Libraries are not only for the students from the EUSD, they are available also to all people in the community. Each box has two sections, the top section is for adults, and the bottom section is for children.

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